About Grunt and Grungy ...

For those of you who don't know about us, a little history to fill you in.

Between the two of us we had over a hundred years of experience gardening. (Now that makes me feel old.) We had gardened in climates that can be described as West Coast Marine, to Sub Arctic wilderness, to flat prairie and finally settled in what we commonly refer to as our little piece of paradise, here in the Creston valley, in south eastern B.C., Canada, located about 10 km. north of the Idaho panhandle and just below Kootenay Lake.
The property lies in a small microclimate that gives us a zone 5/6 Canadian version or 6/7 US version.
We were avid gardeners for years, and about 10 years ago noticed that more and more of the old varieties of vegetables were no longer being offered. Being raised in the generation that thought "if you aren't part of the solution, then you are part of the problem", we decided to start growing heirloom and open pollinated varieties of vegetables (especially tomatoes) and offering the seeds to other gardeners.
Well one thing lead to another and we ended up starting a private seed bank so that our and your grandchildren will be able to have the same tastes that you are having now. This past couple of years we had gone past tomatoes and started seed banking (cold and cool storage) any annual vegetable seed.
If you have questions or would like to contribute to this blog, please feel free to contact me at any time.

Also for those who wish to trade please contact me at the below e-mail address and I will get back to as soon as possible. Thank you.

I am sad to report that Dan McMurray passed away on February 15, 2012 at his home in Wynndel, British Columbia. Dan was 69 years old.

Much of the final years of Dan's journey is chronicled on this blog. He was a man who made a difference to many people, and his family believe that his thoughts in the last years and months of his life, and his work in preserving heritage seeds should remain available.


What I post about ways, methods, and results is based on what I observe in my garden. Your growing conditions may achieve results that differ from mine. I am putting this blog here to offer a site to exchange gardening ideas and methods, and to exchange seeds.
I welcome questions and discussions about anything gardening. The only dumb questions are the ones you don't ask. I will try to find answers for questions that I can't answer, and may post links to sites that have clearer answers than I can come up with.


I do have tomato seeds to offer. The seeds are free, but I ask you to help cover the postage and handling in one form or another.
They can be obtained through trading seeds, or paying for postage at the rate of $2.00 for the first ten varieties or seed packs, and an increase of $1.00 for every ten varieties or seed packs beyond that. Seed packs are approximately 25 seeds each (not counted, just a pinch of seeds). Germination rate usually exceeds that of commercial seed packs. If you have problems with germination, let me know, and I will replace the seeds, either with more of the same variety, or with a variety that I think will give you something similar to what the original variety would have. Please note. I am not a seed company. Iwill only offer seeds from my current trade lists and also if I have lots to spare from previous years. I don't check germination on older seeds, but my experience has been over 80% on five year old seed.

2010 FALL SEED LIST = http://tinyurl.com/4whnxy3 Some seeds from this list may be in limited supply, but I will do my best to fill your request.

Albums containing photos of most of the varieties I have, and other photos that may be of interest, can be found at:
http://www.picasaweb.google.com/tvgrunt, or

When you have made up your list, send me a copy at grungysgarden@gmail.com

Changes ...

The status here has changed substantially, as you can see above. The blog will continue, hopefully with more frequent input than recently.
Seed saving and trading/sharing will also continue. I still want to bank seeds, not just of tomatoes, but I am older than the lead photo on the blog would indicate, and have passed the seed bank on to younger hands.
In the meantime, I will continue to pay it forward, and trade/share seed to all corners of the world, as I did with Val.
This poem, which we both have known since the 1960's gave us much comfort through Val's battle with cancer.


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

Life comes with no guarantee of quality or quantity. It is up to you to remember to smell the flowers, watch the sunset, hear the birdsong in early morning, and the spring frogs in the evening. What ever happens in your little corner of it, it is still a beautiful world, and you do yourself a great disservice if you fail to see and celebrate what is there.

A little footnote here, that will stay at the top of the blog. I have married again, for the fourth time. Another internet marriage, as Val's and mine was, and just as good, although completely different.
I was also diagnosed with lung cancer in May 2011, and started treatment to cure it in late August 2011.
The blog will carry on, in much the same vein as it always has. I will post mostly garden related articles, but also a few comments on things and life in general.
For a while, I thought Gump had it right = sh*t happens. He's wrong = LIFE happens

I am sad to report that Dan McMurray passed away on February 15, 2012 at his home in Wynndel, British Columbia. Dan was 69 years old. His family wishes his blog to remain for those who wish to read Dans' journey.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Drip Irrigation System

For some time, I’ve been meaning to do a proper rundown on my drip system, complete with photos. I am going to start by giving a general description, and linking to some of the photos that I have already posted elsewhere, that reasonably represent what I do. I will try to get into the garden and take some photos to go with this, when I am home this weekend, but I tried to do that last weekend too.

I keep this blog ad free on purpose, but do occasionally plug companies or products that I like and use myself. I have no affiliation with any company I name here, other than being a satisfied customer. I also reserve the right to pan any company that I am dissatisfied with = and they will have to be very deserving of the pan before I will give it.

That being said, I buy my ⅛” micro-tubing from http://www.submatic.com. I have dealt with them since 1980 or 1981, and have always been satisfied with their service.

I make my own punch from a block of wood

and an appropriately sized nail, sharpened to a fine point. End clips are made from pieces of what ever I am using for feeder lines, or garden hoses or what ever comes to hand and will stay in place. If you are covering the drip lines with mulch or anything else, the end clips are not really necessary = they just convert the water to a drip, instead of letting it squirt across the bed (if you are running higher pressure/volume to increase watering, they can squirt quite a ways). The best feeder lines are the black plastic variety, although that can get a bit expensive if you have any amount to purchase. Cheap garden hose will work very well, but usually has the disadvantage of getting stiff after a season or two, and does not hold onto the emitter lines quite as well. If you are not going to be rolling the lines up to move them, garden hoses are a good cheap alternative = if you will want to be able to roll them up every year, spring for the black plastic.

You can make your individual emitter lines what ever length and spacing best suits your needs. If the drip lines are always going to be in the same locations, and the crops are going to be the same or similar every year, you can get very particular with your emitter layout, and reduce your water consumption accordingly. for instance, if you are always planting tomatoes with the same spacing,in the same rows, you could easily put very short emitter lines in exactly the right position, and reduce the amount of micro-tubing and water required. If you are going to be rotating things through the beds, or re-orienting garden areas, you might want to do a more general configuration, with longer and closer spaced emitter lines. I move stuff all over my beds, so I tend to do longer lines, and closer spaced. Since I have no water constraints, I tend to use a bit more, and a bit more frequently than I might otherwise = for me it pays off in larger harvests.

One of the advantages to using the micro-tubing is that it is very easy to clean a plugged emitter (which I seldom have to do) = pull the end cap off, and stick a piece of 16 gauge wire down the emitter line (metal guitar strings are great for this = they are stiff and don’t kink). When you cut your emitter lines, cut them at an angle

so you won’t plug them by pushing them against the far wall of the feeder line. If you make your emitter lines too long, they are going to be difficult to clean, as the wire will want to bend and kink. If you have an emitter in the wrong place, just cut it off at about 1”, and burn the end closed, or just pull off the end cap, and burn the end closed, leaving it in place in case you change your mind again.

I run a header line across the top end of all of my beds, and use the cheapest taps I can find to control the water on each bed (usually water tank taps). Run the largest diameter header line you can, to allow the largest volume possible to your feeder lines, bearing in mind that the first restriction in the line sets the volume for all of the line behind it = ie the tap that regulates your water sets the volume that will flow through the lines downstream from it. If your first tap is ½”, that is what regulates the volume you pass to the rest of the system. This doesn’t necessarily say to put the rest of the lines in at ½”, because you also have to deal with friction in the lines, which can make a difference if you have longer runs. I cobbled my initial header lines out of what ever was available here when I started, so I have a mix of 1”, and ¾” headers, which is all made moot by the fact that all of my taps controlling the beds are ½”. The individual feeder lines on the beds are a mix of ¾” black plastic, ½” black plastic, and ½” and ¾” garden hoses. My beds vary in length from 40’ to 100’, with emitter spacings from 9” to 18”staggered down each side of the feeder line. Emitter line lengths are from 6” to 15”, mostly around 9”. I can adequately water 400 emitters at once, using two hours for watering time. This gives me enough time to water my whole garden in one day (I have two taps and two header systems, with about 1100 feet of bed). If you use water soluble fertilizer (MiracleGro, etc) or lots of well filtered compost, other teas, or molasses,invest in an injection siphon.

It greatly simplifies feeding your garden, and cuts down on waste as well.

Because all of my lines are either plastic, or garden hose, I don't have to worry about winter frost damage. I disconnect the feed line, and open all of the valves and taps in the system, so there is no chance of water getting trapped in anything metal. The worst that might happen is a joint may get forced apart if water gets trapped in it, and it freezes solid.

In addition to the drip irrigation, I hand water new plantings of beans, carrots, onions and similar, two or three times daily, until they are large enough to mulch around. It substantially reduces the losses from stress.

No comments:

Post a Comment